Inspiration & Sports


PBA commissioner Chito Salud’s Monday decision to ban Petron import Renaldo Balkman and fine him a hefty sum of P250,000 is not an easy decision to make as seen in his facial expression and the tone of his voice during his brief but straight-to-the-point announcement to the press.

If I’d put myself on Salud’s shoes, honestly, I will also have to think it over and over and over, before issuing the statement on the tough Monday “decision” in dealing with Balkman’s late-game outburst during last Friday’s Petron-Alaska game at the Big Dome.

salud on banOpinions vary as far as Salud’s decision is concerned.

There were those who say the ban was too harsh. While others say, that’s just the right thing to do for assaulting a teammate before a shocked Big Dome audience and in front of television.

Still other people believe the 6’6″ Balkman should have been given a second chance, considering that the American-Puerto Rican already apologized in public and had patched things up with Arwind Santos last weekend.

But at the end of the day, after all the talk and opinions here and there, Salud said, being the PBA commissioner, he just had to do what he needs to do for the best interest of the 38-year-old professional league.

“In all occasions I have had in summoning erring players, invariably all these players would be regretful and remorseful. And that’s good because that means that the PBA is attracting by and large, good, decent individuals.

“But be that as it may, it was a hard decision.  I had to think it over, and think it over seriously. And in the end, it is my responsibility to protect the interest of this league and to shield it from violent and abberant behavior,” explained Salud before the press.

The lawyer-turned-commissioner added: “In any kind of act that is unsportsmanlike in nature, you would have already an inclination as to what to do, but as a lawyer and as a head of the PBA, I had to hear him out before I make the final decision.”

As difficult as it is to make that decision, I think at the end of the day, Salud only wants to communicate one word: values.

The PBA chief sums up what he said with this: “His public apology… I have taken note of that, it has been accepted by his teammates, in particularly Arwind Santos, but as I have stated, my audience and constituency is far more broader than Mr Balkman’s own constituency, which, in this case is his team.”

Photo courtesy of Nuki Sabio of the PBA


I’m just amazed at how level-headed Arwind Santos was in handling the “choking” incident he had with Petron teammate and import Renaldo Balkman during the final 21.6 seconds of the match where the Boosters lost to the Alaska Aces, 73-83.

His action was in stark contrast with Balkman, who went ballistic in the waning seconds of the match that saw him shove his teammate Ronald Tubid and Petron assistant coach Biboy Ravanes as well.

balkman-santosSantos initiated the move by saying sorry to Balkman at the dugout, even though it was clear as sky on television that the Petron import shoved him, then choked  him later.

The Petron forward was obviously, surprised, shocked and even hurt by that, considering that it was his teammate who did that to him in front of a stunned crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

But Santos just shared what’s inside of him in a text message to me, awhile ago: “Kaya nga ako nagsori na rin sa kanya (Balkman). Mahalaga kc sakin ang goal ng team namin. At para kay God at sa mga supporters namin.

Even at that point where he was hurt and all, Santos still thought about his team rather than himself. And that’s what makes it a class act in itself for Santos.

It would have been easy for him to retaliate after the game, considering that Balkman’s actions humiliated him in front of his mother Arceli and the thousands of people who watched the game live at the Big Dome and on their television screen.

As the Petron coaching staff led by head coach Olsen Racela meets with management this weekend to tackle the pressing issue on Balkman and what action they will have to take, hopefully, the team won’t just take this thing lightly.

Whether it’s a hefty fine, a suspension, or the worst case scenario of sending Balkman home, the important thing now is for Petron management to make a decision that will deal with the problem at its root. And whatever decision the team management will make, will determine what Petron values.

Photo Courtesy of Jerome Ascano at



Petron Blaze is on a roll as of late, winning its last five games since dropping its conference-debut, a 92-94 loss to newcomer Globalport last month.

But during that five-game stretch, Petron also set a record of sorts with Air21, a team that has been on the other side of the spectrum since it has lost five straight games after opening the conference with a 74-70 win against Barangay Ginebra.

Against the Express, the Boosters had every advantage because of their size, their roster depth and of course, their energetic import in Renaldo Balkman.

While these advantages led Petron to the victory, the Boosters had to do it the hard way, engaging the boys of Air21 coach Franz Pumaren in a defensive matchup that saw both squads establish several record lows in the pro league’s 38th-year history.

Petron beat Air21, 60-53, but not after making just 24 of its 75 shots overall for 32 percent. Far worse was Air21’s shooting percentage which ended at 27.6 percent after making just 21-of-76 overall in the game.

Petron’s 60 points ended up as the sixth all-time lowest winning score – and the lowest winning score in franchise history.

On the other hand, Air21’s 53 points was the franchise’s lowest score ever in a game and equalled the seventh all-time lowest production in league history.

The two teams’ 113 points combined also went down as the fifth all-time lowest combined scores in a game.

“It was a defensive game for both teams,” said Petron coach Olsen Racela. “At halftime, I told the guys, ‘I don’t care if we have a low-scoring game as long as we make stops on the defensive end.”

IMG_0668Like Petron and  Air21, sometimes, we go through good times and bad times in sports or everyday life.

Sometimes, everything seems right, where you feel like “you’re in the zone”.

* You just got a surprise call from your boss that you’ve been promoted and your salary gets tripled.

* Maybe you won a raffle, trip for two to Hong Kong Disneyland in your company’s big event.

But at other times, nothing doesn’t seem to work.

* You’re two hours late in your work and you just jammed a finger after trying to squeeze past a crowded MRT Train.

* Maybe, you prepared hard for your exam, but the items you faced in the Finals was not what you studied.

The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:14 (The Message translationOn a good day, enjoy yourself; On a bad day, examine your conscience. God arranges for both kinds of days. So that we won’t take anything for granted.

For sure, God has a purpose for every circumstance. But when we learn to understand His purpose while also realizing that He remains in control, we’d learn to be thankful and praise Him for every given circumstance.